Scholarship and financial aid award notices are arriving in student email inboxes. Some arrive in the mail, others online and some have to be viewed on the college website using a student id and password.The big question in the minds of students and their parents is "what do the notices actually mean?"
The best way to understand an award notice is to write down what your bill will be including tuition, fees, room and board. Those are the items likely to be on your bill. Then make a list of the free money (money that does not have to be paid back). Subtract the free money from the bill amount. Then you have the bottom line or the amount students and their parents will have to pay through savings or loans. The bottom line is the best ways to review the offers.
Some families are distracted by large awards from colleges with large price tags. A smaller award from a more moderately priced college could be the best deal. In any event, families have to analyze what they will get for their money and how much they will pay to decide which offer is the best deal.